Document Type



Community Health Sciences; Institute for Educational Development, Pakistan; School of Nursing and Midwifery, Pakistan


Background: The Government of Pakistan is facing difficulty to contain the surge of COVID-19 due to the country's social, political, economical and cultural context. Experiences from the previous epidemic suggest that community perceptions, social norms and cultural practices can impede COVID-19 containment. To understand social responses towards COVID-19, the study aims to explore the understanding of COVID-19 and the acceptance of control measures among community members.
Methods: We conducted an exploratory qualitative study using a purposive sampling approach, at two communities of Karachi, Pakistan. In-depth interviews were conducted with community members including, young, middle-aged and older adults of both genders. Study data were analysed manually using the conventional content analysis technique.
Results: A total of 27 in-depth virtual interviews were conducted, between May and June 2020. Six overarching themes were identified: (1) community knowledge and perceptions around COVID-19; (2) trusted and preferred sources of health information; (3) initial thoughts and feeling towards COVID-19 pandemic; (4) community practices to prevent exposure from COVID-19; (5) perceived risks associated with poor adherence to infection control practices; and (6) future preparedness of community to avoid the second wave of the outbreak. Generally, community members had good knowledge about COVID-19, and positive behaviour and attitude towards using standard precautions. The knowledge is mainly acquired through electronic, print and social media platforms, which have pros and cons. However, some community members including younger individuals had poor adherence to safety measures. This may necessitate concentrated efforts to raise awareness through community mobilisation and sensitisation activities.
Conclusion: This study provides an initial evidence base of communities' perceptions, and attitudes towards COVID-19 in an early stage of pandemic. The study emphasises that sufficient knowledge and awareness about COVID-19, adequate training and drills, and adherence to safety measures, are necessary to better prepare for the second wave of COVID-19.


Pagination are not provided by the author/publisher

Publication (Name of Journal)

BMJ Open

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License